Gerard Parkin

Gerard Parkin

Research Interest



Parkin’s research encompasses areas as diverse as bioinorganic and organometallic chemistry. With respect to organometallic chemistry, hydrodesulfurization and hydrodenitrogenation are the industrial processes that are critical for providing clean petroleum fuels, and systems that provide detailed information pertaining to the mechanisms of these important reactions are investigated. Effort is also being directed towards the use of magnesium and zinc compounds as catalysts for transformations involving hydrosilylation of CO2 and for on-demand hydrogen generation. Zinc also plays a critical role in biology and models for the active sites of zinc enzymes that provide a deeper understanding of their structures and mechanisms of action are developed. In addition, synthetic analogue studies have provided a molecular explanation for detoxification of organomercury compounds by organomercurial lyase (MerB).



American Chemical Society Award in Organometallic Chemistry, American Chemical Society Award in Pure Chemistry, Royal Society of Chemistry Ludwig Mond Award, Royal Society of Chemistry Award in Organometallic Chemistry, Royal Society of Chemistry Chem Soc Rev Lecture Award, Royal Society of Chemistry Corday Morgan Medal, Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring, Columbia University Presidential Award for Outstanding Teaching, Lenfest Distinguished Columbia Faculty Award, National Academies Education Fellow in the Sciences, Elected Inaugural Fellow of the American Chemical Society, Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.



The Queen’s College, Oxford (B.A., 1981; M.A., 1985; D. Phil., 1985, Adviser: M. L. H. Green), California Institute of Technology (NATO postdoctoral fellow, 1985–1988, Adviser: J. E. Bercaw)


M. Rauch, S. Ruccolo, G. Parkin “Synthesis, Structure and Reactivity of a Terminal Magnesium Hydride Compound with a Carbatrane Motif, [TismPriBenz]MgH: A Multifunctional Catalyst for Hydrosilylation and Hydroboration.” J. Am. Chem. Soc.139, 13264-13267 (2017).

P. J. Quinlivan, G. Parkin “Flexibility of the Carbodiphosphorane, (Ph3P)2C: Structural Characterization of a Linear Form” Inorg. Chem. 56, 5493-5497 (2017).

M. Rauch, S. Ruccolo, J. P. Mester, Y. Rong, G. Parkin, “Synthesis, Structure and Reactivity of a Terminal Magnesium Fluoride Compound, [TpBut, Me]MgF: Hydrogen Bonding, Halogen Bonding and C–F Bond Formation.” Chem. Sci.7, 142-149 (2016).

S. Ruccolo, W. Sattler, Y. Rong, G. Parkin “Modulation of Zn–C Bond Lengths Induced by Ligand Architecture in Zinc Carbatrane Compounds.” J. Am. Chem. Soc138, 14542−14545 (2016).

M. C. Neary, G. Parkin “Dehydrogenation, Disproportionation and Transfer Hydrogenation Reactions of Formic Acid Catalyzed by Molybdenum Hydride Compounds.” Chem. Sci.6, 1859-1865 (2015).

A. A. Zuzek, G. Parkin, “Si–H and Si–C Bond Cleavage Reactions of Silane and Phenylsilanes with Mo(PMe3)6: Silyl, Hypervalent Silyl, Silane, and Disilane Complexes.” J. Am. Chem. Soc.136, 8177 (2014).

W. Sattler, G. Parkin,  “Zinc Catalysts for On Demand Hydrogen Generation and Carbon Dioxide Functional- ization.” J. Am. Chem. Soc., 134, 17642-17465 (2012).

W. Sattler, G. Parkin, “Structural Characterization of Zinc Bicarbonate Compounds Relevant to the Mechanism of Action of Carbonic Anhydrase.” Chem. Sci., 3, 2015-2019 (2012).

A. Sattler, G. Parkin. “Cleaving Carbon–Carbon Bonds by Inserting Tungsten into Unstrained Aromatic Rings.” Nature 463, 523-526 (2010).